The dangers of misinformation

By Robert C. Oliver - Contributing columnist

Prior to the presidential elections of this nation, there was some discussion and comments made about being informed voters. Many of us have long suggested that though all who were registered to vote could vote, not all of them should vote. One needed to be informed of just what each candidate stood for before voting for or against them. One was bold enough in his comments to advise that there were actually three categories of voters, the informed voter, the uninformed voter and the misinformed voter. With but little consideration it seemed not only correct, but that the misinformed voter may well be the most dangerous. The uninformed knows they are uninformed and thus could easily pick up enough information to make a somewhat informed choice in short order. However, the misinformed voter has been fed false information, believed it and closed their minds to further information. Let us consider the dangerous consequences of misinformation.

It is easy to see that misinformation can be damaging, dangerous and even deadly. If we take our car to a mechanic that misinforms us concerning what is wrong with our car and then makes the repairs that he has recommended, we will get our car back with the same problem still there. It could well cost us more down time of our means of transportation, more money and more headaches getting a second analysis made and repairs made. It has been jokingly said that doctors bury their mistakes. It is a fact that when a doctor misinforms a patient, death could be the end result. It does happen. Some misinformation may be almost harmless and other downright deadly. Care should be taken. Just those two examples show the consequences to misinformation is dangerous to say the least. It should also be noted that the honesty and sincerity of the one who misinforms in no way removes the consequences. There are those who intentionally misinform in the political realm, the mechanical realm and the medical realm, as in every realm. But much misinformation is passed on innocently.

Jesus once said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). What we can glean from this is that no matter how harmful misinformation can be in the physical world, misinformation in the spiritual realm is even more so! As with those physical realms, often spiritual misinformation is passed along innocently. There are those who just make merchandise of spiritual matters, but most are likely teaching just what they believe to be true.

However, thinking something to be right does not make it right. Solomon said, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The holy scriptures are the words of truth that will provide man with the knowledge to reach eternal life in heaven. All other is simply misinformation that will end in eternal damnation. The apostle Paul once wrote, “Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar…” (Rom. 3:4).

When one studies the scriptures, both old and new, those who are misinforming the people are not called “mis-informers”. Jesus spoke of some whom He labeled ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15). Peter referred to those who taught that which was not true, false prophets and false teachers (II Pet 2:1). Though those Jesus spoke of and those Peter spoke of are all long dead and gone, false teachers are in abundance among us. They misinform concerning the church that is found in the pages of the New Testament, the one the Lord build (Matt. 16:18), over the which Jesus is head (Eph. 1:22-23) and of which Jesus Christ is the saviour (Eph. 5:23). Misinformation says that one church is as good as another, that some man-made church which had its beginning centuries after the Lord built His, is as good as the one for which the Lord shed His blood to purchase (Acts 20:28). Attend the church of your choice is misinformation! “Mis-informers” will inform people that they can be saved by some way other than that which the Lord prescribed. When one says that one is saved by faith only without any obedience to the gospel of Christ, they have ceased to inform and begun to misinform. Jesus Christ is “…the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:9), not all those who believe in Him. The scriptures clearly teach salvation by faith, but not salvation by faith only. It is only when our faith brings us to obedience that our faith has become a saving faith (James 2:20-24). Space would fail us were we to try to enumerate every example of misinformation in the realm of Christianity. Yet, every bit of spiritual misinformation is dangerous. On the day of judgment, we will not be judged by what we thought was right due to misinformation that was given to us, but by what the word actually says (John 12:48; Rom. 2:16). Thus, it behooves us to turn to the truth. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16). Don’t stand at judgment uninformed or misinformed. (Send any questions or comments to: [email protected])

By Robert C. Oliver

Contributing columnist

Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.

Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.